In a symbolic gesture, Biden released a statement on the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement. In the statement he pledges:
The United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement on day one of my presidency, and I’ll immediately start working with my counterparts around the world to do all that we possibly can, including by convening the leaders of major economies for a climate summit within my first 100 days in office. The Biden-Harris Administration will increase the ambition of our domestic climate target and put the country on a sustainable path to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
He also pledges to work closely with activists who have “continued to sound the alarm and demand change from those in power” as well as focusing on overhauling social infrastructure to make it more sustainable.
None of these statements are surprising. Biden has repeatedly promised to rejoin the Paris Agreement and work with climate activists, all while at least in public utterances keeping some distance from the Green New Deal. The Hill highlights, however, that:
Biden’s Vice President pick Kamala Harris co-sponsored the resolution recognizing the need for a federally funded Green New Deal back in early 2019, and has written essays that seemingly support the legislation.
Regardless of whether or not Biden supports the Green New Deal, he will clearly be pushing for aggressive climate policies, including the goal of net-zero emissions no later than 2050 mentioned in his statement.
At this point, it is clear that barring a massive turnabout in Biden’s climate policy, the United States will be rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. It would be nice to hope that Biden would focus on setting reasonable and attainable goals while protecting American interests on the world stage. But, especially given the make-up of his party, we should probably brace ourselves for new commitments to policies that harm our economy, at a time when growth is sorely needed.
The Trump administration showed that we can protect American interests, while working to improve innovation and technology. Carbon emissions have actually continued to drop during the Trump years.
We are reentering a time of multilateral agreements and we must work to promote the idea that we don’t have to destroy ourselves to save the planet.